Setting a lifetime PR is a great way to start off the week – especially a squat PR. 355 lb.
This all happened because I decided to change my mind.
The plan was to do another cycle of the Renaissance Periodization Powerlifting strength templates. I really enjoyed the prior cycle, and the RP male physique templates before that. I had good results and learned a lot. I wanted to give the PL Strength templates one more go before returning to my own programming. However, I’ve been having some physical problems as of late. The arm pain issues I think may be under control and finally know how to manage that. What’s been getting me more lately has been knee issues.
My knees have been very stiff. Simple things like getting up and around aren’t without discomfort in my knees, and a little difficulty in getting around. That is NOT good. It’s been this way for some time now, with no signs of getting better (or worse). I am close to going to see someone about it. However… I have wondered if my strict adherence to templatized routines the past 6 months has actually contributed. Not that the work itself created the problem, but rather the work I didn’t do. I’ve come around to a fairly firm belief that single-leg work has been one of the best things for my knees — and that’s been lacking the past some months; it’s the work I hate to do, but I know it’s good for me so I do it. But the templates need you to follow the templates, which is good, but I am thinking hasn’t been ideal for me and my particular needs.
Look at the past few weeks. I finished off, deloaded, took a light week, then last week I was out of town on business and I did no training. All this light and restful stuff should make me feel better – and I do everywhere else but my knees. Hrm.
I’ve been thinking about what my approach would be after doing another RP PL cycle, and I really spent time during my travels finally writing down the approach. I’ll detail it more later, but basically yes I need to get back to having a structure where I can do all the things I need: not just the stuff to get big and strong, but also the stuff to keep me operational and healthy.
So I called it and opted to scrap the RP PL’s for now — I can always come back to them another time. I need to do my own thing.
I needed to establish some maxes, and I took a cue from something I recently read. Basically take the Paul Carter approach of working up to find the every day max (EDM) — warm up, then take singles. That top single should be CRISP, not a grinder. After you find that, then do 5×5 @ 60% of that. Maybe a couple more things, and call it a day.
So that’s what I’m doing this week: going to find my EDMs, then start my own programming next week.
Squats were simple: warm up, then start singles.
Given how the squat RP PL cycle ended, I had a good idea where I’d end up.
The 315 went up alright — as soon as I stood up I knew this was the “crisp” single, and for sure it was in line with how the prior cycle ended. But it was really good and I did wonder if going up a hair might still be crisp. Today is about determining stuff, so might as well determine stuff! If it was, great! If it wasn’t, then I knew. No big, and I’d know for sure.
335 went up well. I could tell it wasn’t the “crisp” single, but it was still good. Here’s the thing.
I felt really good.
I weighed it. I was out of town, didn’t get much sleep, ate decently but not normal, am pretty darn tied and drained. EDM should be something you could hit on a crap day, and this registers as not being optimal. But yet, I felt like there was more.
I decided to keep going. I figured why not. I’m not on a program. I was feeling “lathered up”, so why the hell not. Plus my best ever squat was 345 set some long time ago, and I suspect I cut depth a hair short. But I’ve been working on depth, on better setup and descent, on full-body tightness, on approach to each rep. I felt confident, so why not.
And sure enough: 355 went down and came up. I have no doubts on depth.
Set a lifetime PR. That felt awesome.
I actually felt like I could have done more: I wanted to do 365 because 3.5 wheels, but I knew that was ego calling and I didn’t want to risk a solid gain for an ego desire.
When I did all the math on things, it’s really where everything should be. If I call 355 a true 1RM, then using 315 for the EDM is about right.
So I’m quite happy! A great way to start off this week.
Did some other work too, to start getting in the mode of what’s to come. Going to start every session with some rope jumping. I might also start with some other stuff like box jumps, med ball slams, etc. We’ll see.
Dips were hard. I can do a bunch of benching, then do dips and get a lot more reps. I guess here I’m starting cold and the body didn’t like it — I mean, you don’t go in and do a max lift cold, you warm up to it. Not sure how I’d warm up here. And it may just need to be getting used to this. We’ll see.
Then leg extensions are a bit out of Wendler’s approach but I don’t care — this is looking at things for my knees. Just sitting and extending my legs (knee extension) and then flexing/squeezing at the top helps me feel better. So I’m going to use light weight, slow movement (make it purely about the contraction, no momentum), and ensure a complete extension and flex/squeeze at the top. I expect this should help me a bit.
Finding Maxes for next cycle
- Jump Rope
- bar x 10
- 135 x 5
- 225 x 5
- 275 x 3
- 295 x 1
- 315 x 1
- 335 x 1
- 355 x 1 (Lifetime PR)
- 190 x 5
- 190 x 5
- 190 x 5
- 190 x 5
- 190 x 5
- bw x 5
- bw x 6
- bw x 6
- bw x 5
- Leg Extensions